Citing sources familiar with the deal, Foley late last week reported that Microsoft has convinced Dell to scrap its existing search toolbar deal with Google and replace it with Microsoft's Live Search, although neither company would confirm this.
If true, the deal would represent a significant win for Microsoft, which has been pulling out all the stops in order to boost its search market share. According to Citi Investment Research and ComScore qSearch, Google currently has a 63 percent share of the U.S. search market compared with Yahoo's 19.6 percent and Microsoft's 8.3 percent.
In June, Microsoft and HP agreed to include the Live Search Toolbar on all HP consumer PCs sold in the United States and Canada starting in January 2009.
Last month, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems announced an agreement to include the MSN Toolbar -- which includes a Live Search button -- as an option in the download for the Java Runtime Environment.
Microsoft and Verizon are also reportedly close to inking a deal that would make Microsoft the default search provider on Verizon Wireless phones, and would also amount to a major pie in the face of Google, which for more than a year has been trying to work out a similar agreement with Verizon.
In addition to search partnerships, Microsoft is also reportedly considering changing the name of Live Search to 'Kumo,' which, in Japanese means "spider" and "cloud."
In May, Microsoft launched Live Search Cashback, a program that pays Web users rebates for purchasing products from participating Microsoft vendor partners through the Live Search site.
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